Archived Posts December 2006 - Page 6 of 9 | Acton PowerBlog

Stephen Grabill delivers his address at today’s Lord Acton Lecture Series Event

Stephen J. Grabill, Acton’s Research Scholar in Theology, delivered an address today based upon his new book which explores the complex and often-overlooked relationship between Protestantism and natural law.

In Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics, Grabill calls upon Christian ethicists, theologians, and laypersons to take another look at this vital element in the history of Christian ethical thought. He appeals to Reformation and post-Reformation era theologians such as John Calvin, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Johannes Althusius, and Francis Turretin, who carried over and refined the traditional understanding of this key doctrine. If you weren’t able to attend today’s lecture in person, you can hear it by clicking here (7 mb mp3 file).

Blog author: dwbosch
Thursday, December 14, 2006

In December of last year I had a great back and forth on the topic of Christian dominionism with fellow green blogger Elsa at Greener Side.

A friend wrote recently asking about those posts and my take on dominionism specifically. After letting him know we were safely in the anti-dominionism camp, I said I thought there were more folks in progressive/secular circles that saw Christians as dominionists than Christians who actually bought into this trash.

I liked his response:

It sounds absolutely right to me that there’s a bigger need to quash dominionist thinking in non-Christian circles, and I think the research would agree, too. It’s similar to the common criticism of religion, especially of Christianity, that tags it as uniquely violent and warring (and then the crusades are invoked), when if you look at modern history, more people have died for secular causes in secular wars (and at the hands of atheists and despots) than from all the religious wars combined. It’s such an amazing play of jujitsu – and somehow the secular humanist intelligentsia have foisted this notion onto the minds of many folks, and much of academia perpetuates it, sometimes unknowingly. The forces set against the truth and against faith are not to be taken lightly…


For those of you new to the whole notion of destroying the earth to hasten Christ’s coming, I’ve reposted my note to Elsa below. Her links (and excellent blog) are still up too, including her follow up post.

[Don’s other habitat is The Evangelical Ecologist] (more…)

“Christian consumption has gone far beyond the book as millions use their buying power to reinforce their faith and show commitment to the Christian community,” reads an article in the current edition of USAToday (HT: Zondervan>To the Point)

According to the piece, “Nearly 12% of Americans spend more than $50 a month on religious products, and another 11% spend $25 to $29, according to a national survey of 1,721 adults by Baylor University, out in September.”

There has been a great deal of media attention paid to the Bible market in particular in the past few weeks. Here are some examples from Publisher’s Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker (HT: Reformation21).

Much of this phenomena flows from the affluence of the North American church, which itself entails a responsibility to be good stewards of those resources. As Ron Sider has poignantly reminded us, the way the church approaches the responsibilities and opportunities of wealth and affluence shouldn’t mirror the broader culture’s.

Reading through the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 the other day, I was struck by the danger of the third type of seed, that which “fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.” In Jesus’ explanation, “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” Let us pray that the church in North America doesn’t fall prey to the temptations of the penultimate, but rather produces an abundant harvest for God.

If you’ve read any of David F. Wells’ books on this subject, such as God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams, you know that he shares these concerns.

Blog author: kschmiesing
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Geoffrey Norman at NRO offers a delightfully sarcastic discussion of the move by a couple of Michigan state senators to use the BCS title game controversy as an opportunity for political grandstanding. “Keep your hands off our football,” is Norman’s message to government.

In point of fact, however, there is a long history of government intervention in American sports. An early and famous example is the Supreme Court’s 1922 decision granting Major League Baseball an exemption from antitrust laws. The financial stakes and cultural importance of athletics are too great a temptation for participants not to seek advantage through political maneuver.

Blog author: jspalink
Thursday, December 14, 2006

In a recent open letter to immigrants to the United States, Jennifer Roback Morse expands on the words of Emma Lazarus engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Lazarus wrote: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.” Morse goes one step further, asking immigrants to give their hearts as well.

What Morse explains is that America values immigrants. In fact, almost all Americans are descended from immigrants. But a trend that Morse observes is a segregation between new immigrants and “native” citizens. New immigrants come to America, but leave their hearts abroad. Morse implores new immigrants to embrace the United States, to accept it as their home. “If you are going to be here, we want you to become Americans. Not just citizens, but Americans in every way,” writes Morse.

Immigration into the United States is by no means an absolute right (for more on that see here). It is a privilege, granted to some and not to others; sometimes for good reasons, and sometimes not. There are certain obligations that should be met when becoming a citizen of a new country, or even for being allowed to live and work in another country.

Those obligations include, but are not limited to, following the laws of that land and being sensitive to the customs of that land. They could extend as far as learning the language. It seems to me that these are just requests in exchange for the privilege of being in a place that benefits both you and your family.

And if you seek to become a citizen, your allegiance is required. You trade your own loyalty to the government in exchange for protection and the opportunity to seek “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” at least here in the States. For immigrants, this contract is voluntary. If you happen not to agree with or like the exchange, you may leave. Should you choose to stay, you should do so whole heartedly, embracing the freedom and liberty that the United States can provide you with.

Blog author: jballor
Thursday, December 14, 2006

I can’t offer a wholesale endorsement, but it’s a critique worth a hearing…give it a watch.

See here for Acton’s answer to the One Campaign.

HT: eucharism

Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A debate about the future of energy policy is being held over at sp!ked, sponsored by Research Councils UK. From their notice:

Expanding supply or managing demand?

In the opening articles, five commentators address the question from different viewpoints.

ADAM VAUGHAN, online editor, New Consumer magazine argues that saving energy is the way forward: ‘By taking a number of simple steps, consumers can save energy and money – and help save the planet.’

JOE KAPLINSKY, science writer, spiked, believes that we need to greatly expand energy supply: ‘The best thing that we could do for future generations is to build a new energy infrastructure, bigger and better than the old one.’

MALCOLM GRIMSTON, associate fellow at Chatham House, argues that we need to embrace nuclear power: ‘Nuclear energy remains the only proven large-scale option that can deliver major saving in greenhouse gas emissions.’

MARK JACCARD, professor of resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver believes that fossil fuels, particularly coal, remain central to energy supply: ‘Zero-emission fossil fuels will remain cost competitive for at least a century.’

JIM SKEA, research director, UK Energy Research Centre argues that renewables are not a panacea to all our energy problems, but ‘A variety of renewable technologies may play an important part in energy generation in the future.’

spiked is keen to find out what readers think, and you can respond to the debate here.

I would also briefly mention that you can read a related article by me here, and that in general I think the options posed in the debates subtitle (reduction of use or expansion of supply) is similar to the options posed by the problem greenhouse gas emissions (reduction of emissions or increase of sequestration).

Most of the policy recommendations I’ve seen regarding CO2 emissions have focused on reduction of emissions rather than an increases in the rate and amount of carbon sequestration (in forests and so on). There’s a lot of work to be done on that latter point, especially if largescale reduction of emissions is untenable both politically and economically for the foreseeable future.